Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Healthy Meal Prep

As I have mentioned though out the last few months I am attempting to change our dietary habits from the Standard American Diet to a whole foods diet. 

While this is a noble attempt there are some stumbling blocks that seem to pop up when you are least expecting it.

Whole fresh food takes time to shop for, prepare, and eat. You are not grabbing a box of processed food items, throwing boiling water over it, an then swallowing it down without any real effort to chew. Instead you are purchasing multiple separate items for each dish. Then there is the chopping, washing, and assembling of the meals before taking your time to sit down and eat a meal that takes effort to chew and process.

In an effort to continue to eat a whole foods diet while raising and homeschooling 6 children I have had to find some shortcuts and easier methods for our meals. Of course the first step in any meal plan is to actually plan the meals.  Our family now eats a diet high in vegetables, fruit, lean meats, and complex carbohydrates. With these things in mind I sit down each week and make a list of the meals we will be eating through out the week. One of my big tricks is to serve the same meal at least two times a week. This cuts down on the time I need to spend in the kitchen as well as the expense of buying multiple items for multiple meals. I have found that my family does not mind eating the same thing several times a week as long as I space them out a few days and rotate to new meals the next week.

 The main "trick" in my arsenal is to take one afternoon to meal prep for the entire week. This can include pre-cooking our protein for the entire week and chopping all of the fruits and veggies in one sitting so they are ready to be assembled at meal times. Another tip is to assemble completed meals in individual servings so they are simply "grab and go" items.

For this weeks meal prep I decided to make up a bunch of single serve meals. These meals are available to anyone who wants them at any time they feel they are hungry.

This weeks meal plan for lunch and dinner looks like this:

Berry salads with spinach, strawberries, blackberries and a blackberry vinaigrette

Chicken burrito bowls with wild rice, chicken, black beans, corn and avocado

Pork chops with roasted brussel sprouts, green beans, tomatoes and wild rice

Baked sweet potatoes with kale, black beans, and green goddess dressing

As you can see I do not have a very big refrigerator and it all still fits inside along with tons of extra veggies, fruit, dairy items, and lunch meats. I, or my children, could use the remaining items in the refrigerator or pantry to make several more meal combinations if the repetitiveness of meals gets boring. I intentionally only assembled salads for myself since portion control is important to me....and I wanted to make sure there were strawberries set aside for my portion! There however is plenty of salad items to make salads every night of the week if we chose to do so.

A typical day's meals for our family looks something like the following:

Breakfast: Oatmeal with apples and honey
Lunch: Strawberry and spinach salad with chicken
Snack: Watermelon
Dinner: Chicken burrito bowls

I am getting hungry just looking at all this yummy food! I think it is snack time for mama!

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